Marble Falls ISD encourages virtual students to return to campus if failing coursework

Education

MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — Virtual students in the Marble Falls Independent School District who are struggling to maintain their grades are being strongly encouraged to return to on-campus learning.

Dr. Chris Allen, superintendent for the district, said his team will not mandate these students to return but will work with families to lay out options and provide a clear path to getting back on track.

In many instances, he says that means getting back inside the school to have one-on-one interactions with experienced instructors.

“We really feel strongly that if their student is going to be successful, then this is going to be the step they need to take,” Dr. Allen said. “We are going to do the best we can to serve that student, but when you have nine weeks of experience showing that remote learning is not working for that student, then it may be time to talk about other options.”

In a letter recently sent to families, Dr. Allen outlined a plan where teachers will directly contact families who have earned failing grades.

“The truth is, no matter how much our teachers and families have done to support learning from home, this option is simply ineffective for some learners. Students for whom remote learning is no longer the best option will be directly contacted by their school.”

Superintendent Dr. Chris Allen in a letter to Marble Falls ISD Families

Dr. Allen told KXAN this applies to approximately 20 families in the district, emphasizing this letter was not intended to direct or force students back on campus but rather to encourage them to consider the option to recover lost credit.

He said teachers in the district are highly qualified and experienced to problem solve and identify where students are having the most trouble. Kids can get one-on-one time during office hours, thereby eliminating barriers to communication.

“There is no way to quantify the art of teaching that occurs when a student and teacher are engaged in a relationship that helps that kid want to do their very best,” Dr. Allen said.

The district has added resources for the approximately 16% of Marble Falls ISD families who have remained virtual up to this point. An online hub provides parents detailed instructions to help kids navigate the virtual platforms, families can utilize a tech hotline to reach out with questions and teachers will continue to proactively reach out if they see attendance issues or continued missing assignments.

There is no immediate plan to eliminate virtual instruction altogether, but the superintendent did not rule out the possibility when asked. Dr. Allen said the district is making all decisions with the help of the board of trustees and the Burnet County Health Authority based on the ongoing progress of students.

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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